Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva faces being expelled from the Winter Olympics and her medals stripped after a positive doping test from December was confirmed.
The 15-year-old dazzled spectators as she won team gold with the Russian Olympic Committee at the Beijing 2022 Games – becoming the first-ever female skater to perform a quad twist at the event.
However, the Independent Testing Agency (ITA) has now confirmed that Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication – trimetazidine – back in December, leaving her hopes of going for Olympic gold in the individual competition in jeopardy.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s sample was analysed by a Swedish laboratory the day after the teenager won team gold with the ROC, and she has been permitted to practice after her provisional suspension was lifted.
A statement from the ITA read: “First, the ITA stresses that Ms. Kamila Valieva, a member of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) delegation in Beijing, is a minor and therefore a ‘Protected Person’ under the World Anti-Doping Code – this status applies to persons under the age of 16.
“To state the facts chronologically, a sample from the athlete was collected under the testing authority and results management authority of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on 25 December 2021 during the 2022 Russian Figure Skating Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
“The WADA-accredited laboratory of Stockholm, Sweden, reported that the sample had returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the non-specified prohibited substance trimetazidine (classified as S4. Hormone and Metabolic Modulators according to the Prohibited List of the World Anti-Doping Code) on 8 February 2022. Following this, the athlete was provisionally suspended by RUSADA with immediate effect.
“As the sample was collected by RUSADA ahead of the Winter Games, this case is not under the jurisdiction of the IOC and thus not directly managed by the ITA. In line with the IOC Anti-Doping Rules, the ITA immediately informed the athlete that the provisional suspension imposed on her by RUSADA is binding upon the IOC and the athlete is prevented from competing, training, coaching, or participating in any activity, during the Olympic Winter Games.
“The athlete challenged the imposition of the provisional suspension before the RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee on 9 February 2022 and a hearing took place on the same day. On the evening of 9 February 2022, the RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee decided to lift the athlete’s provisional suspension, thus allowing her to continue her participation in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
“The decision on the results of the ROC team in the Team Figure Skating event can be taken by the ISU only after a final decision on the full merits of the case has been taken. The procedure, which is initiated currently, can only address the provisional suspension.”
Valieva is also the reigning European champion in the women’s singles event, with the women’s short program at Beijing set to take place on February 15 before the free skate two days later.